26 June 2009

Z is for Zzzzzz

So my summer job.

It has so many good points, like the flexibility -- I work hourly, so if I need to take off (like I am next week for the beach), I can just... take off. I don't have to make sub plans, I don't have to fill out a leave slip. Also, as I mentioned before (but can't mention enough, apparently, because it's such a huge thing for me), I can leave the office if I want to. Go to lunch at the deli, grab coffee from Starbucks, go to the bathroom -- whenever I want. Oh, my God, it is such a delight. Also? The people are soooo nice and friendly, and I can play music at my desk while I work.

But it is so boring. I have spent the last 4 days alphabetizing. That's it. Sort files alphabetically by school, sort files alphabetically by teacher within each school, check off every file received, take files to the file room.

I mean, I love letters as much as the next English teacher, but I'm getting to the point where I am losing my sense of the alphabet. You know, like when you say a word too many times and it starts to sound completely foreign.

Today, I realized about twenty schools in that I had totally forgotten that Q comes after P, and I had to go back and re-alphabetize.

I'm trying to finish as much as I can before the weekend, because on Sunday I head to THE BEACH for a week (yays!), and I'd love to leave a clear desk, but every time I think I'm close to finishing, the mails comes and I suddenly have hundreds more to do.

And I hate to think what my desk will look like when I come back from the beach...

Ooooh, I need a quick Moment of Zen:

>sigh< I love you, new turquoise sandals.

24 June 2009

A Good, Old-Fashioned Shoe Swap

My mom is five million different kinds of awesome, but let me prove it with the following example:

Back in February, I bought a pair of red patent leather peep-toes with a slight wedge heel. I wore them approximately twice before I realized that they were giving me blisters because they are too small (they felt so right when I tried them on in the store! I have learned the virtues of walking around in shoes a bit before purchase, trust me).

Then last month, my mom and I went shopping at Macy's, where my mom bought a pair of flat turquoise thong sandals with this cool multi-colored ring detail and the same slight wedge heel. She wore them to work and realized that they didn't have enough support for her (she broke her ankle last fall, and she has to be super careful about the shoes she wears).

I realized, last night as I was trying to decide what to wear to work today: my mom wears a size slightly smaller than mine, she wants a pair of red flats, and her turquoise sandals would go amazingly with the dress I wanted to wear today.

So I called her last night and said, "Why don't you bring your sandals in tomorrow, and I'll bring my flats, and we'll trade!"

And that is exactly what we did. She loves the flats (and says that they're comfortable enough to wear all day), and the sandals do indeed look great with my dress.

Mine are turquoise, not dark blue, but you can see how cute these sandals are:Again, how awesome is it that my mom has good style sense so we can do things like switch shoes at work?

23 June 2009

She Likes... Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray is the first novel in what is truly my favorite YA trilogy. I picked it up on a whim at a Books-A-Million a few years ago, and I devoured it, then was so excited to find out that that sequel, Rebel Angels, had just been published.

Gemma Doyle spends the first sixteen years of her life in India, but when her mother dies mysteriously on Gemma's sixteenth birthday -- which happens to be the day Gemma has her first "vision" -- Gemma is shipped off to Spence, a finishing school for aristocratic young ladies. There, she is plagued by continuing visions of a young girl and a creeping shadow monster, as she navigates a brutal girl world and deals with culture shock.

Gemma soon discovers the diary of Mary Dowd, who attended Spence years before with her best friend Sarah and who, upon her sixteenth birthday, was initiated into the Sisterhood, a group of women with magical powers and access to the otherworldly Realms. But something happened -- something terrible -- and the Realms were closed, the Headmistress dead, and Mary gone from Spence.

Eventually Gemma, along with her frenemies Felicity, Ann, and Pippa, find their way into the Realms and discover that the past -- Gemma's mother's death, the burning of Spence's East Wing, the disappearance of Mary Dowd -- is not far behind.

A Great and Terrible Beauty takes place in the late 19th century, and Gemma is a fish out of water: she is spunky, sarcastic, and independent, and she doesn't want to conform to society's rules for women. I adore Gemma, and I love the supporting characters as well, warts and all.

The best part about A Great and Terrible Beauty is that it is the first in a trilogy, followed by Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. The worst part? The trilogy eventually ends. Its conclusion is faithful to the characters and the overall narrative, and it is both beautiful and heartbreaking.

I was so upset when I finished The Sweet Far Thing -- not because I didn't love it, but because it was over. However, I do appreciate it when an author doesn't drag out his or her series but instead has an endpoint that makes sense and makes it clear that the author has planned meticulously from the beginning. See also: J. K. Rowling.

So I'm excited for Bray's next book -- I read in Entertainment Weekly last week that her next book, Going Bovine, is coming out in September, and I can't wait! Now I have two September releases to look forward to (the first is, of course, Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games). In the meantime, I think I'll re-read A Great and Terrible Beauty...

Returned to Life (Again)

Two and a half years have passed since my last post and... not much has changed.

Well, that's not entirely true. I

(1) moved: about a mile away from my previous apartment;

(2) transfered to a new school: after three years of dying a slow death in my previous school, I finally took a leap and did my research, revised my resume, sent it out to the (few) schools I was interested in, and -- lucky me! -- got a job at my first choice school (let's call it Foreston).

This was maybe the best decision I've ever made. Seriously. I had an absolutely fantastic year, the English department is wonderful and supportive, the staff morale is high and carefully tended to by the administration, and my students were totally awesome. At the end of the school year, a lot of people asked me whether I was glad I made the leap and came to Foreston, and my answer was always, "God, yes!"

And I have nothing if not impeccable timing. If I had waited another year, I'd be stuck at my old school (let's call it Unhappysville), because economic times being what they are, the school system is short on money, and thus short on jobs. A number of my former colleagues would love to escape Unhappysville, but there just aren't positions available.

Anyway, yay for good timing, and yay for returning to my much (much much much much) neglected blog.

The school year ended this past Friday, and now I'm at my summer job in Human Resources, which is kind of fabulous because it's not brain-heavy, I don't have to take it home with me, and I can leave the office for lunch and a midafternoon coffee at the Starbucks across the street (I wonder if only teachers can really understand what a treat this is).

Right now I'm in the midst of alphabetizing files, which is mindless but absolutely welcome at the moment. I'll get frustrated and bored within two weeks, but at the moment? Mindless = bliss!